The man who’ll be in charge of managing the state’s Medicaid program says “cost containment” will be his chief goal. Chuck Palmer, the former Iowa Department of Human Services director, will be in charge of the program as Governor-elect Terry Branstad has asked Palmer to do another turn as director of the agency.
“We have to have a Medicaid program and we have to meet federal regulations, so we’ll see what we can do,” Palmer says.
Rooting out more fraud, getting better deals on prescription drugs, focusing more on preventive care and working with other states on collaborative projects could be the best options for containing costs in the future according to Palmer.
“I think each state will, if you will, come up with some ideas and we need to share and borrow from each other,” Palmer says. “We’re all in the same boat and we’re all struggling with the same issues.”
Governor-elect Branstad says the Medicaid program is the “scariest” part of the state budget because of double-digit increases in the budget for the program due to rising health care costs and a rising number of Iowans who enrolled in the program during the recession. About 380,000 Iowans are currently getting health care benefits through Medicaid, which provides government-paid health coverage for the poor and the disabled.